In 1998, David Mabberley of theRoyal Botanic Gardens Sydney, described a new native citrus discovered near Humpty Doo not far from Darwin, in Australia's Northern Territory. Named Citrus gracilis, it is clearly a close relative of the native Australian citrus varieties formerly classified as 'Microcitrus' and 'Eremocitrus'.
The following pictures were kindly sent to me from the Northern Territory Herbarium in Australia. I believe these were the first pictures of Citrus gracilis on the internet.
Twig growth and leaf form is similar to Citrus glauca, which grows further south in much drier areas. Bark is much rougher than other citrus.
The fresh fruit are said to be green and up to 10 cms in diameter. At first I thought these brown and toad-like specimens were dried, but in fact they have been pickled to retain shape and texture. The process does, however, destroy the original colour.
Any seeds, photos, or further information about Citrus gracilis, gratefully received.
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page updated 20th October 2004
The first botanical description of Citrus gracilis was published in the Australian journal Telopea, from which the following quotes are taken:-
"Armed straggling tree to 4m high, often coppicing and suckering; bark cracking into irregular squares."
"Flowers usually solitary." "Fruit about 8 cm diameter, globose." "Eucalypt woodland with grassy understory on sandy or gravelly soils."
Drawings by T.G.Hartley
I have recently been in contact with TENPS, the Australian 'Top End Native Plant Society', which is looking after a small population of Citrus gracilis. The following pictures were taken by their members.
Notice, as in the original description, the suckers and the irregular squares of bark.
a new Australian native
New pictures at:-